'Please be young': Craigslist ad leads to arrest of Navy Sailor on child pornography charges

Posted at 10:15 PM, Feb 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 13:27:00-05

NORFOLK, Va. - An ad on Craigslist led to the arrest of a Navy Sailor.

In 2018, then-29-year-old Petty Officer First Class Robert Birchett posted an ad that read in part, "please be young" and "be real and willing to please."

The post raised suspicion, and federal authorities were notified. After opening an investigation, agents traced Birchett's IP address to his Portsmouth home where he was living at the time. He was interviewed, and court documents say he admitted to posting the ad but denied trying to have indecent liberties with a child.

After the interview, court documents say he "consented to an on-site search of his desktop." Law enforcement forensically examined the black desktop computer and found files that were indicative of child pornography.

In October of 2019, he was interviewed about the documents and stated he "received the files from another military member back in 2008 or 2009." The affidavit goes on to say that Birchett advised HSI that the files they previewed in 2018 should still be on his computer.

Records indicate when agents asked when he last looked at child pornography, he said, "I don't know... maybe sometime earlier in the year. Not much after this [expletive] happened the first [expletive] time."

Furthermore, federal records say Birchett also told agents which websites he used to look at child pornography. They seized two desktop computers and two external hard drives..

The affidavit says agents found "83 images, and one video of suspected child pornography in system backups from 2017. The exam also recovered 52 deleted images, four deleted video file fragments, and three Windows LNK files of child pornography from unallocated space on the system's hard drives."

On November 11, 2019, papers say he filed a leave request with the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) from December 27, 2019, to January 10, 2020, but he was allegedly seen on his porch on Palmer Street on January 8.

Crime analyst Richard James says, "I don't think that it's going to stop, but the good news is that we do have great federal investigators and local investigators that's going to protect minors."

Related: Navy Sailor facing child pornography charges; court documents detail incidents leading to arrest

The now-31-year-old was back in court on Wednesday. He waived formal arraignment, pleaded not guilty and demanded a jury trial. The jury trial is set for April 21.

We reached out to his attorney for comment, but haven't heard back.